Pastel Effect in ArtWork: Between Drawing and Painting

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Tutorial: AKVIS ArtWork

Pastel Painting


Pastel is a special artistic technique which bridges the gap between painting and drawing. The pastel sticks or pencils form soft velvety strokes with subtle edges which can be smeared with your fingers. To paint in pastels, a rough textured surface is needed, which will hold the pigment. A distinctive feature of the pastel technique is the "glimmer" of colors in the form of small specks. Unlike paints, pastels don't cover the whole surface. The small gaps left uncovered let the background paper color show through the strokes and increase the general color effect of the painting.

Photograph Converted to a Pastel Drawing
Pastel Drawing From Photo
(Hover the mouse over the picture to see the original image)


Attention! The Pastel style is only available under the Home Deluxe and Business licenses. It's possible to try all features in the trial period.

The Painting tab in the Settings Panel contains the parameters for converting a photo into a pastel painting.

Effect Parameters:

    Stroke Thickness (0-100) affects the width of the strokes.

    Narrow Strokes Wider Strokes
    Stroke Thickness = 1 Stroke Thickness = 70

    Min/Max Stroke Length (1-100) covers the full range of possible stroke lengths. Stroke Length is controlled by the position of two sliders on the same scale: the left slider sets the minimum stroke length while the right slider controls the maximum stroke length. You will see only the strokes greater than the minimum and shorter than the maximum settings.

    This parameter lets you create pastel works in a variety of styles: from sketches made with short strokes (as if with a thin pencil) to drawings made with soft, velvety strokes.

    Short Strokes Long Strokes
    Min/Max Stroke Length = 1/11 Min/Max Stroke Length = 45/100

    Stroke Intensity (0-100) affects the visibility of the strokes. Lower values will result in paler, weaker, and softer strokes. At higher values more paint particles are concentrated into each stroke, so they become darker, larger, and more noticeable.

    Low Intensity High Intensity
    Stroke Intensity = 5 Stroke Intensity = 80

    Density (0-100) affects the number of strokes on an image. The higher the value, the fewer unpainted areas there will be on a image. Once all gaps have been filled in, the strokes will begin to overlap in several layers, creating a glazing effect.

    Attention: Setting the high values of this parameter can significantly increase processing time.

    Fewer Strokes More Strokes
    Density = 5 Density = 80

    Lightening (0-100) affects the number of white strokes superimposed an image. The higher the value, the the more light tones will be used.

    Dark Tone Light Tone
    Lightening = 10 Lightening = 80

    Smoothing (1-10) affects the structure of the drawing by thickening and smearing the strokes.

    Weak Simplification Strong Simplification
    Smoothness = 2 Smoothness = 10

Additional Tools:

    You can add your own creative touch by changing the direction of the strokes using the Stroke Direction tool . Just draw the guiding lines, and the program will convert the image into a pastel painting directing the strokes to follow your guiding lines. With this technique you can achieve truly realistic paintings with human hair, patterns and textures going in the right direction.


    You can use the Smudge tool to improve your result by manually refining irregularities after processing. The tool is available on the After tab.
    Attention! If you switch to the Before tab and run the processing again, the changes made with the Smudge tool will be lost!

How It Works How It Works
   — Workspace — Workspace
   — How To Use The Program — How To Use The Program
   — Add Text to a Painting — Add Text to a Painting
   — Painting on a Canvas — Painting on a Canvas
   — Working with the Presets — Working with the Presets
   — Preferences — Preferences
   — Batch Processing — Batch Processing
Styles Styles
   — Oil Painting — Oil Painting
   — Watercolor Painting — Watercolor Painting
   — Gouache Painting — Gouache Painting
   — Comics Effect — Comics Effect
   — Pen & Ink — Pen & Ink
   — Linocut — Linocut
   — Pastel Painting — Pastel Painting
Examples Examples
   — Harmony: Oil Painting Portrait — Harmony: Oil Painting Portrait
   — City Canal View: Oil Landscape — City Canal View: Oil Landscape
   — Animated Comic of a Cat: Video to Cartoon — Animated Comic of a Cat: Video to Cartoon
   — Emergency Cow: Make a Poster — Emergency Cow: Make a Poster
   — Greetings from Canary Islands — Greetings from Canary Islands
   — Summer Coloured Green — Summer Coloured Green
   — Casandra's Portrait — Casandra's Portrait
   — ArtWork for Art Students — ArtWork for Art Students
   — Day At The Beach — Day At The Beach
   — ArtWork Oil Gallery — ArtWork Oil Gallery
   — Orchid: an Oil Painting of Flowers — Orchid: an Oil Painting of Flowers
   — Miniature Painting — Miniature Painting
   — Still Life With Peaches — Still Life With Peaches
   — From Flawed Photo To Work Of Art — From Flawed Photo To Work Of Art
   — Antique Collage: Comics Effect — Antique Collage: Comics Effect
   — Baroque Architecture: Linocut — Baroque Architecture: Linocut
   — Ballet Art: Trying ArtWork Styles — Ballet Art: Trying ArtWork Styles
   — Human Flower: Pen & Ink Drawing — Human Flower: Pen & Ink Drawing
   — Oil Painting With a Hand-Drawn Effect — Oil Painting With a Hand-Drawn Effect
   — A Little Secret: Two ArtWork Styles — A Little Secret: Two ArtWork Styles
   — Mythical Horse: Watercolor Picture — Mythical Horse: Watercolor Picture
   — Forest Nymph — Forest Nymph
   — Ballet Dancers: Oil Painting — Ballet Dancers: Oil Painting
   — Portrait of a Lady: Modern Art — Portrait of a Lady: Modern Art
   — Sunset on Lake Garda in Pastel — Sunset on Lake Garda in Pastel
   — Creating  a Semi-Processed Image Effect — Creating a Semi-Processed Image Effect
   — A Holiday In Normandy — A Holiday In Normandy
   — Orange Door: a Comic-Like Painting — Orange Door: a Comic-Like Painting
   — Interior Design: Painting from Rendering — Interior Design: Painting from Rendering
   — Painting & Photography — Painting & Photography


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